Desoto County NewsMississippi News

BIPEC report card ranks legislators for business votes

Photo: Mississippi Senate chambers. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

The Mississippi Business and Education Political Education Committee, or BIPEC, each year rates state lawmakers for their business-related votes in the 2022 Legislative session. 

This year’s report looks favorably at a number of lawmakers for how they voted in Jackson.  

The annual Legislator Business and Jobs Report Card has been issued by the committee, which graded each legislator’s vote on bills BIPEC deemed important to the Mississippi business community.  

According to its website, BIPEC says it is a non-profit (501 (c) (6)) membership organization that represents broad-based business and professional interests having operations and marketing interests in Mississippi. BIPEC said it is not tied to any single private sector segment.

As a result of the individual results on the report card, DeSoto County Sens. Kevin Blackwell (R-Southaven), Dr. David Parker (R-Olive Branch), and Michael McLendon (R-Hernando) were among those recognized as being “Business Champions,” “for their work in making Mississippi a place for growth and jobs,” BIPEC said.  

From the House on the same list was Rep. Bill Kinkade (R-Byhalia), who represents an eastern part of DeSoto County as well as Marshall County.  

All three senators voted for 10 of the 11 bills they were graded on, with the lone exception being Senate Bill 2474, which would have given electric companies owned by municipalities the same authority as electric power associations. Municipally owned electric companies would be allowed to create government-owned broadband companies and offer internet service to customers, putting them in direct competition with private internet providers.  

Kinkade voted for 11 of the 13 bills in the House targeted by BIPEC. The two exceptions were House Bill 733 and House Bill 976. 

BIPEC said House Bill 733 would have driven up prices for employers who use a pharmacy benefit manager for their employees’ health insurance program. 

The committee said House Bill 976 would have required any package retailer and retailer that sells alternative nicotine products to use a third-party verification service that obtains the purchaser’s full name, date of the birth and residential address. It claimed that service would be extremely costly for small convenience store operators to purchase the software.  

The three local senators and Kinkade earned an “A” on the BIPEC grading point system., earning their Business Champion status.

Other local legislators and their grades were:

  • Rep. Jerry Darnell (R-Hernando), a B grade,
  • Rep. Dan Eubanks, (R-Walls), a B grade,
  • Rep. Jeff Hale (R-Southaven), a B grade.
  • Rep. Dana Criswell (R-Olive Branch), a C grade,
  • Rep. Steve Hopkins (R-Southaven), a C grade, and
  • Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray (D-Horn Lake) a C grade.

Specific grades for senators are found here and for representatives are found here